Wednesday, August 29, 2012
'Pigeon', An embroidered Portiere
The portiere designed by J.H. Dearle, the motto probably designed by May Morris, manufactured by Morris & Co, circa 1890
Silk on linen, the mushroom ground decorated with a pair of pigeons perched on scrolling foliage, with a fruit laden tree and two flowering shrubs, the background with polychrome flowers and foliage, the upper border decorated with a furled banner bearing the inscription: "All wrought by the worm in the peasant - Carle's cot. On the mulberry leafage when the summer was hot.", with seven suspension loops
9ft.11in. by 5ft.2½in. (297cm. by 158.8cm.)
Though the design of this portiere is recorded as that of Henry Dearle, the additional motto is attributed to the hand of William Morris' daughter, May, who managed the embroidery section of the company from 1885-1896 and whose known contemporary designs closely match the style of lettering seen here. The very high quality of the stitching and colouring indicates that the piece was almost certainly executed in the embroidery workshops of Morris & Co. as opposed to having been completed by the company's clients, as was sometimes the case.
We are grateful to Peter Cormack of the William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.